Dyer Style 5 Symphony Harp Guitar, c.1919

This instrument sold on consignment last year - and quickly, as it was as cheap ($2200) as any Dyer gets.  I received five requests in the first week.  It went to Stacy Hobbs, who needed a third harp guitar to dedicate to Hedges tuning (just for that one tune!).  Neither he nor I have invested time or money in re-stringing, so I can't speak to tone.  Stacy planned to leave the cosmetics and just get the intonation and action fixed, but is in need of some cash flow (among other things, he did buy that stunning new Noble!).  The price - over a year later - has increased slightly (and fairly) so that he can simply recoup his purchase price (eating the shipping). 

Photos and information are exactly as before.  Additionally, I threw in for Stacy my funky original Dyer end-opening leather case (which is pretty thrashed).  You may request it as well if you don't have a case (or new gig bags/cases are available here)

A Style 5 (second grade in the five levels of Dyer models) is a $5000-6000 instrument in good, playable or restored condition.  This one has the preferred 6 sub-basses.  It definitely needs work - in the opinion of repair genius Rufie Barnes (work for Ben Harper, David Lindley, etc.), around the neighborhood of $1500 - but that's to do pretty much everything.  Meaning that, fully restored, you'd ultimately have a vintage Dyer 5 for less than four grand.  If you're a luthier or repairman yourself, then even less.  Alternately, for less investment, a collector could have this cosmetically touched up to hang on a wall, or a serious player could leave the visual issues alone, and just make it a great player.  Lots of choices, any way a bargain. 

Pictures speak for themselves, but here are all the issues:

Lower body is very sound - other than one tiny crack on the side, I see nothing other than normal finish issues and no loose braces.  Playing wear isn't bad at all.  Area above the soundhole is warped a bit as the fingerboard bends down at the 12th fret.  This is typical of almost all Dyers, and there are various ways to address it - steaming, or neck re-set, and/or bridge and saddle work.  You can actually play it as is, though action is somewhat high and intonation is off at the octaves.  Bridge and surrounding soundboard area are excellent.  Fingerboard slightly twisted (from bracket), but otherwise fine; normal fret wear; could of course use a re-fret or at least a dress.  Some slight water damage at the end pin/bottom.  Both headstocks were cracked and somewhat crudely repaired.  These could be re-repaired or left alone.  The bass headstock damage continues into the arm with a lengthy (but repairable) crack along the inside. The binding on the arm would be an easy fix.  Headstock veneer chipped and missing - you could live with it (battle scars) or re-veneer as you see fit. 

A great opportunity to get into vintage! 

-Gregg Miner, the "harp guitar pope"









  • Original label: Style 5, Serial # 894 (c.1919)
  • All original, except for repairs
  • Spruce top
  • Mahogany back, sides and neck
  • Six sub-bass strings
  • 25-1/2" scale
  • 1-7/8" nut width
  • Dimensions: 15-1/2" lower bout, 3-13/16" depth at tail block, ~41-3/4" total length
  • Worn leather original case, if requested (Harp Guitar Music gig bags and flight case available here)
  • Strings: Most harp guitars offered have temporary sub-bass strings (whether new or used) in various tunings.  New strings are available here.  If you need help calculating gauges for your tuning on this instrument (or if you would like help with tuning suggestions), just ask the pope!

Price: $2400 SOLD

CDs & DVDs by Stephen Bennett, John Doan, Muriel Anderson, Andy McKee, Stacy Hobbs, Tom Shinness, Dan LaVoie, James Kline, Larry Berwald, Bill Dutcher, Gregg Miner, Pasquale Taraffo
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